1. Using the chef’s knife cut off both ends of the celery root and then cut all of the hairy skin off. Don’t worry too much if some of the flesh of the vegetable comes off as well. Wipe down the board with the damp cloth, making sure to get rid of all of the dirt and sand. 00:21
2. Put the celery root on its side on the cutting board and slice it into 1-inch thick slices. Place the slices flat on the board and cut each one into 1-inch cubes. 01:36
3. Begin melting the 1/4-pound of butter in the large saucepan over medium-high heat. 02:40
4. Roughly slice the three shallots and add them to the melting butter. Add the cubed celery root, and season with salt and pepper. 02:50
5. Ladle in about 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock (enough to cover the celery root most of the way) and add the 4 to 5 thyme sprigs on top. Place the lid on top of the saucepan, and cook for about 30 minutes. 03:33
6. After 30 minutes, taste the celery root for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Remove the stalks of the thyme, leaving in whatever leaves have already fallen off. 04:14
7. Spoon the cooked celery root and shallots into a blended. Add in a little more chicken stock as needed, being careful not to add too much. Start the blender on low and gradually increase the speed until the celery root is fully puréed. 05:00
8. Add in another tablespoon or two of butter to ensure a smooth purée. Season again with salt and white pepper. 06:14
9. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the celery root purée into the small saucepan or into a bowl with a wide mouth that will make plating easier. The purée can be plated in canelles or dragged across the plate for a decorative finish.* 06:40
What You'll Need
- Chef’s knife
- Damp cloth or dishtowel
- Large saucepan with a lid
- Small saucepan (optional)
- Rubber spatula
- Celery root (1)*
- Butter, unsalted (1/4 pound plus 2 tablespoons)*
- Shallot, peeled (3)
- Chicken stock (3/4 cup plus more as needed)
- Thyme sprigs (4 to 5)
- White pepper*
*See Chef Notes for further information
The celery root is a bulb from which the roots grow down into the ground and the stalk of the celery grows out of the top. It has a flavor very similar to the celery stalk but a much less fibrous texture, much like a potato, that allows it to be made into a smooth purée.
Cutting the celery root into smaller cubes means that it will have a shorter cooking time.
Chef Paul uses an unsalted, European-style butter that has a lower moisture content and creamier texture. He notes that at French restaurants they “like to use lots and lots of butter. Butter makes it better!”
White pepper is used with this purée so as not to mar its beautiful, creamy white appearance with flecks of black.
If you are using a high-quality or industrial blender, it will be powerful enough to fully blend the celery root and no straining will be required. If you are using a less powerful blender, you may need to press the purée through a strainer to achieve the desired creaminess.
A cannelle or quenelle is a small, oval mound of soft food that is decoratively placed on a plate. It is often used with purées and mashes, as well as ice cream and other soft foodstuffs.